Petition (1767) to King George III from N.C. Land Speculator Henry McCulloh

1767
Manuscript Collection #1317
Creator(s)
McCulloh, Henry, approximately 1700-1779
Physical description
0.02 Cubic Feet, 1 archival folder, consisting of a petition and correspondence
Preferred Citation
Petition (1767) to King George III from N.C. Land Speculator Henry McCulloh (#1317), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA
Repository
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access
No restrictions

Included is a 1767 petition ("Memorial") written by Henry McCulloch, a London merchant, colonial official and North Carolina land speculator, to King George III of England. The topic of the "Memorial" is the difficulties encountered in encouraging settlements in North Carolina after the Anglo-Cherokee War (congruent with the French and Indian War) and the need for relief from paying quit rents. Also included are a cover letter and a memorandum on the same subject with specific reference to George Augustus Selwyn.


Biographical/historical information

Henry McCulloch was a powerful English merchant, landowner, and speculator in North Carolina who lived from 1700-1779. In 1739 he was appointed, "Commissioner for supervising, inspecting, and comptrolling our revenues and grants of land in South and North Carolina." During this period he unsuccessfully petitioned the Privy Council to get rid of the ineffective quitrent system, which was a land tax system paid to the owner of the property during the mid-18th century. McCulloch possessed land grants of well over one million acres in North Carolina. The grants were dependent on protestant settlement and quitrent payments to McCulloch who needed to pay the King and a make a profit on the difference. When neither settlement nor payments materialized by 1765, which was the end of the ten year contract, he lost the grants. During this period most of his other landholdings were sold. He then relinquished control of his other holdings to his son, who managed them until the revolution, at which time they were confiscated. During the early 1760's McCulloch was hired to draft a stamp tax for the colony but instead, a more moderate version of his bill was put into place as the stamp act of 1765. He died in 1779 while residing in Chiswick, Middlesex County, near London, England.

Sources:

https://www.ncpedia.org/biography/mcculloh-henry


Scope and arrangement

This collection consists of a petition, memorandum, and three letters written by Henry McCulloch to King George III of England. The memorandum and three letters specifically reference George Augustus Selwyn, a known associate of Henry McCulloch. The petition is dated to September 5, 1767 and was written two years after McCulloch's vast landholding and settlement venture in North Carolina collapsed. The venture fell apart due to the Anglo-Cherokee War which raged for three years and scared many protestant settlers out of moving west toward the Appalachian Mountains. McCulloch was not receiving the quitrent revenue he required to pay off the grant. Because of this he was forced to surrender his land grants back to the crown and he received no future grants. McCulloch petitioned King George III to allow him to continue speculating on North Carolina land because he and his associates did everything in their power to spur settlement of western North Carolina. The petition appears to be unsuccessful because Henry McCulloch fades out of the historical picture around this period and most of his remaining landholdings are transferred to his son which are later confiscated during the American Revolution.


Administrative information
Custodial History

November 6, 2017, 0.02 cubic feet; Included is a 1767 petition ("Memorial") written by Henry McCulloch, a London merchant, colonial official and North Carolina land speculator, to King George III of England. The topic of the "Memorial" is the difficulties encountered in encouraging settlements in North Carolina after the Anglo-Cherokee War (congruent with the French and Indian War) and the need for relief from paying quit rents. Also included are a cover letter and a memorandum on the same subject with specific reference to George Augustus Selwyn. Purchased from Ian Brabner Rare Americana with funds from the Sara Batten Endowment.

Source of acquisition

Purchased from Ian Brabner, Rare Americana

Processing information

Processing completed September 27, 2019, by Matthew Lowe.

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.


Key terms
Personal Names
McCulloh, Henry, approximately 1700-1779
Selwyn, George Augustus, 1719-1791
Topical
Land settlement --North Carolina
Taxation--North Carolina--18th century
Places
North Carolina--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Petition, cover letter and memorandum, 1767

Contains a petition to King George III of England, a related cover letter and memorandum.